Modifying a tilting disk mechanical heart valve design to improve closing dynamics

Luke H. Herbertson, Steven Deutsch, Keefe B. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The closing behavior of mechanical heart valves is dependent on the design of the valve and its housing, the valve composition, and the environment in which the valve is placed. One innovative approach for improving the closure dynamics of tilting disk valves is introduced here. We transformed a normal Delrin occluder into one containing a "dynamic liquid core" to resist acceleration and reduce the moment of inertia, closing velocity, and impact forces of the valve during closure. The modified occluder was studied in the mitral position of a simulation chamber under the physiologic and elevated closing conditions of 2500 mm Hg/s and 4500 mm Hg/ s, respectively. Cavitation energy, detected as high-frequency pressure transients with a hydrophone, was the measure used to compare the modified valve with its unaltered counterpart. The cavitation potential of tilting disk valves is indicative of the extent of blood damage occurring during valve closure. Initial findings suggest that changes to the structure or physical properties of well established mechanical valves, such as the one described here, can reduce closure induced hemolysis by minimizing cavitation. Compared with a normal valve, the cavitation intensity associated with our modified valve was reduced by more than 66% at the higher load. Furthermore, the modified valve took longer to completely close than did the standard tilting disk valve, indicating a dampened impact and rebound of the occluder with its housing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number054503
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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